THAT ENDING. Wowza. I’m torn between 3-4 stars because I have so many mixed feelings. Maybe 3.5?
Okay, let’s see if I can function enough to write a semi coherent review. (Minor spoilers, big ones are marked.)
Basically this picks up immediately after the brutal cliffhanger of book 1. The beginning had a super strong start – but after that, the plot seemed to suffer from the ever-famous middle book syndrome. I didn’t expect to give this more than 3 stars – which totally sucked because I LOVED the first book. BUT, the ending… such a smart move on the author’s part. I’m totally hooked all over again.
Aileana wakes up after falling through the portal and finds herself in what looks like the remains of a Fae land – with Lonnrach hovering over her. He takes her as his prisoner and begins torturing her/wading through her memories. He’s after something- but she doesn’t know what. She’s completely broken – especially after finding out Edinburg is completely destroyed. She starts to lose herself and almost withers away entirely before Aithinne (ermergersh the names in this are so hard to type or remember…) rescues her. Aileana quickly figures out that Aithinne is Kiaran’s sister. The two must now find their way out of the desolate fae lands.
That’s just the introductory. I love love loved the beginning… and I think it hyped up my intentions for the rest of the book. Once Aileana and Athinne make their escape though, I was bored to tears. Really nothing super prominent happens from about 30% to %70 aside from the fact that they are reunited with Kiaran, Derrick, Cath, and Gavin who are now hiding out in Derrick’s kingdom. Way too much time is spent meddling around there. Kiaran and Aileana are still picking through their feelings and I got quite bored of that too, honestly.
But I found myself questioning if I only liked the “idea” of this story vs the actual book/execution. We are left in the dark for so long about who Kiaran really used to be – and most of the history of the fae. I was beginning to doubt that we’d ever get any interesting answers. I was ready for something big to happen- and thank heavens it finally did towards the end. So my advice to you all who get bored in the middle and are thinking of giving up…. hang on my friends, hang on.
I think part of the draw for this series is a heroine who quite literally slays. Aileanna is constantly at war with herself and her emotions which makes her relatable- but she isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. This series is most definitely still as bloody and brutal as ever – and it’s dark dark dark. This book doesn’t disappoint on that front- it just has a slow middle.
********MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW********
Finally things start to happen towards the end. We get the answers we have been craving about Kiaran since book one. Was some of it predictable? Absolutely- but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. (view spoiler)[Our Kiaran is the one and only Unseelie King, only his powers are mostly gone (he gave them up.) His sister was the Seelie Queen- and she and Kiaran were always destined to rival/kill each other and the successor would rule both kingdoms. She couldn’t kill Kiaran herself, so she created the Falconers to go after him. By doing so, she gave up a great deal of her power as well. Lonnrach is after them both – trying to take Aileanna’s powers (which were ultimately Aithinne’s powers) so that he can claim all the fae for himself. Don’t forget about his sister- Sorcha- who is basically trying to do the same thing for herself. (hide spoiler)]
And the ending? HELL TO THE YES. BLOODY BRILLIANT.
Sorcha and Lonnrach break into Derrick’s kingdom and start destroying literally everything. They are after a crystal AND Aileanna – and they find both. Sort kills Aileanna – which releases her power. The most badass part? FREAKING KIARAN GETS ALL HIS POWERS BACK AS THE TRUE UNSEELIE KING. Kiaran is gone, and Kadamach is in his place- his previous evil self… now badass as ever. Aileanna wakes up in the “in between” after she dies- and is offered a second chance at life by Kiaran and Aithinne’s mother – to come back with her powers.
I do have an assortment of random thoughts in addition to the plot…
-Derrick is my sweet sweet child. If something happens to him, I will riot.
-Drinking game- take a shot every time Aileanna repeats something someone said to her in her mind (seriously overkill)
-The whole Aileanna/Athinne friendship was awesome
-Thumbs up to the whole fae history stuff
-The cliffhanger is EVIL and WONDERFUL but be prepared
-I really want to see more of the Seelie/Unseelie stuff come into play more (and I expect we will, now…)
Freaking brilliant set up for the next book.
I’m hoping my expectations aren’t too high… but this is so legit now.
Please please please stay good.